36 Days of Type with Adobe Aero

Scene created by Kim Pimmel.

by Kimberly Potvin

posted on 02-28-2020

In 2019, the Adobe Stock 3D team participated in 36 Days of Type. This year, we are excited to partner again with the 36 Days of Type team to provide artists with even more content to make the experience truly exciting. In this tips-and-tricks article, Kim Pimmel, Lead Experience Designer for Augmented Reality (AR), takes you through some introductory information about AR, an exciting new medium that allows you to place digital content into the world around you. Kim will help you learn how to use Aero to put typography onto flat surfaces, provide you with incredible inspiration about how type can be used in the real world, and guide you through how to have a successful 36 Days of Type experience in Adobe Aero.

Tip 1: Getting started with AR

Aero is Adobe’s first augmented reality design tool and is available for iOS devices. Before starting, be sure to download Aero in the App store and then sign in to start the experience. Once you have given the app permission to use the camera, we recommend you take the guided tour which will show you how to scan your space, place objects, and then animate those objects for maximum interactivity. You can then get started with AR and using your mobile device’s camera to place objects in the world.

The easiest way to add type is with Aero’s Starter Assets. After finding your ground plane, tap the blue plus button in the app, choose Starter Assets, and then either “Letters – decorative” or “Letters – minimal.” These two collections contain 40 letterform assets each so you can start creating a 36 Days of Type AR experience instantly.

Access 3D letterforms directly in Adobe Aero’s Starter Assets.

Tip 2: Exploring ideas

There are so many stunning uses of typography in the world around you. Whether for practical purposes like design visualization or as just a fun creative outlet, if you take a look around, you may be amazed at what you find. Here are some concepts that Kim found inspirational to jumpstart your AR adventure.

Environmental designs

Typography in AR can be used to visualize environmental designs such as signage, branding, or murals. To play with this as a concept, it is as easy as adding a PSD to Aero and placing it on a wall or other surface. You can then quickly take a few photos from different angles for a client or narrate over a video to pitch a concept.

For 36 Days of Type, you could place each letter, either by using the Aero Starter Assets or your own graphic work, into a different unique space each day to help capture the spirit of environmental design.

An example of environmental design typography in AR.

For more information on how to format and use PSD files in Aero, visit our page on Preparing Photoshop Assets for Aero.

Taking 2D into 3D

In Aero, your Photoshop files can take on a new dimension. With a PSD selected, you can add spacing between the layers to create some depth and drama. This works especially well with letters and typography where additional elements may be part of the design. If you are interested in making your own custom graphics to leverage this feature, you could even mix type and other 2D and 3D components to tell a visual story around a letter or number.

A layered PSD with text in Adobe Aero.

Tip 3: Leveraging features

Aero has some wonderful features to help you bring functionality and interactivity to your creative experience. Kim has called out a few of these to help you incorporate Aero into your daily design work.

Sticky letters

When working in AR, you can take advantage of “sticky letters.” This feature allows you to have your text adhere to physical objects like a business card or a poster by using what are called Image Anchors. In order to try this out, you can use the following steps in Aero:

If you are working with sticky letters, Kim recommends avoiding highly reflective materials or the app may have difficulty recognizing the image.

Use of sticky letters in Adobe Aero.

For an overview on how to use this feature, visit this step-by-step guide titled, Set an Image Anchor.

Make it move

You can bring your type to life by adding motion to your objects in Aero. These “Behaviors” give you the power to make things move when a trigger is detected. A trigger can be a tap, when the scene starts, or an additional indicator. Kim often gets creative with the type of triggers and the number of animated actions used in a design, such as Move, Spin, or Bounce. Keep in mind, you can even chain multiple actions together for more complex motions and to develop a more comprehensive immersive experience.

Animated behaviors applied to letterform assets in Adobe Aero.

For more information on making your assets move in AR, visit this guide on how to Add Interactivity to Digital Assets.

Tip 4: Explore, play, repeat

Whether you are an artist with a background in 3D, a VR sculptor, or a 2D graphic designer interested in new outlets for exploring your work, there are endless ways to play with dimensional typography. Some options include:

All of these tools are at your disposal, so immerse yourself in the deep end and get prepared to explore all that AR has to offer.

Two examples of 3D text in real world scenarios, inspired by the environment.

If you would like to try 36 Days of Type in our 3D design tool, Adobe Dimension, please visit the tips and tricks article, 36 Days of Type with Adobe Dimension. Otherwise, you can download Aero from the App store and get started with your work in AR.

To join the festivities, simply share your letterform renders on social media using the hashtag #36daysoftype plus #36days_[LETTER/NUMBER]. For example, on the first day, the hashtag is #36days_A. Also, learn more about how to join our contest for a chance to win a one-year subscription to Creative Cloud and be sure to tag #adobeaero so we can see what you have made!

Topics: Creativity, 3D & AR, Emerging Technology, Design, Typography

Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud